People Who Changed Their Lives with Social Media

Alex DiRenzo Alex DiRenzo, Former Contributor

Social media is now a significant part of many peoples’ lives. It’s easy to dismiss the time you spend on sites such as Facebook and Twitter as a distraction or, at best, a fun way to chat with your friends. For some people, however, social media has been a catalyst that has literally changed their lives. Let’s look at some examples of how this is possible.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber is so famous today that it’s hard to think of him as merely a social media phenomenon. Whether you love him, hate him or are indifferent to him, he’s a household name who has released multiple bestselling albums and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.


Bieber, who was born in Canada, became famous on YouTube and other social media sites. He’s actually one of the first self-made social media superstars. He was originally just another kid doing his own music videos on YouTube. In 2007, when he was only 13, a manager discovered him. In 2009, he released his first album, which became a platinum hit in the U.S. Since then, his journey to stardom has continued unabated.

Justin Bieber is an example of what can happen when someone pursues his talents at an early age and puts his work on social media to be discovered. While few can hope to reach the results that Bieber has, he’s far from the only social media success story.

From Unemployed to World Famous Author and Blogger

Brandon Stranton lost his financial job in Chicago and moved to New York to begin a new career as a blogger and photographer. His first big success was a book of photographs called Humans of New York. This book has photographs and accompanying stories of 10,000 New Yorkers.

Brandon Stanton (L), creator of the Humans of New York blog, shows an image he took of a man named Carl February 22, 2013 across the street from Union Square in New York. Some like New York's skyscrapers, bridges, his energy, taxis or lights. But Brandon Stanton has set himself another challenge: photograph of 10,000 inhabitants for a blog now famous "Humans of New York." In two years, he has photographed 5,000 New Yorkers, children leaving school, tramps, fashionistas, New York with a bouquet of tulips, old lady with a cane, municipal employees, etc. And nearly 560,000 fans now follow his Facebook page.AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

It was Facebook, however, that allowed him to share his stories with the world. The Humans of New York Facebook page has more than 17 million likes. He is now a well-known author, speaker and photographer.

Building a Career with a Podcast

Another type of social media that has enabled many people to achieve large followings is podcasting. While many podcasts are done for fun, it’s also possible to build a business from a popular podcast. One example of this is Shawn Stevenson, a fitness trainer who currently has the top health-related podcast on iTunes, The Model Health Show. On this podcast, Stevenson discusses topics such as exercise, weight loss, nutrition and lifestyle. He interviews other experts in the field.


Of course, Stevenson doesn’t only have a podcast. He also has YouTube videos, a Facebook page and an Instagram account. This points to an important social media principle -establishing your presence on multiple platforms. It’s usually most efficient, however, to focus on one area and then, once you have a large following there, to expand to other platforms and develop your social media management skills.

Travel Photographers and Bloggers

There are quite a few people who embrace the lifestyle of the “digital nomad.” Several of them have built careers from their social media activities. One of the first people to do this was Australian photographer Lauren Bath, who was given the title “Australia’s first professional Instagrammer.” Her Instagram account currently has 454,000 followers.


Another popular travel blogger who espouses the digital nomad lifestyle is Cody McKibben, who’s built a large following on multiple social media sites. He’s best known for his blog Thrilling Heroics, but he’s also an author, speaker and coach. McKibben is able to give helpful advice to people who want to emulate his lifestyle, which consists of traveling to exotic spots around the world while making a living from his laptop.

A Self-Made Gaming Vlogger

PewDiePie of Sweden, whose real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is the most famous video game expert of all time. He built his fame almost completely on YouTube.


In 2010, Kjellberg dropped out of college to pursue his passion. By 2012, he’d already gotten over a million subscribers. The PewDiePie YouTube channel has more than 43 million subscribers, making it one of the most popular channels on any topic. By the end of 2015 the channel had gotten a record 10 billion views.

Finding Romance Online

People find more than fame and fortune online. Sometimes they fall in love as well. While many people joke about online dating, the fact is that more and more couples meet this way. In many cases, social media places a key role in the process. People now commonly meet on dating sites such as as well as on social sites such as Facebook. With the growth of online chatting apps such as Tinder and Snapchat, this will only become more prevalent in the future.

There are many myths about online dating. One of these is that relationships that begin online are not likely to succeed. Studies, however, indicate that just the opposite is true. A study of people who got married between 2005 and 2012, for example, shows that 35 percent met online and that those who met online had a lower incidence of breakup or divorce.



In addition to providing a place to meet new people, social media also lets you connect with people from your past. In some cases, this leads to reconnecting with old flames. tells the story of actress Andrea-Rachel Parker, who reconnected on Facebook with a guy she knew in junior high school. The couple ended up falling in love after not seeing each other for many years. There are countless other stories with a similar theme. Facebook is particularly useful for finding people from your past.

These are just a few examples of people whose lives have changed dramatically because of social media. With more social media sites appearing all the time, and usage increasing every year, there will be more and more opportunities to create huge changes in your life from social media.


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